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Private buses to commence operations from July 1 with 20% hike in fares

The revision will push the fare between Mangaluru and Manipal to ₹100

Private City and Service buses are set to resume their operations in Dakshina Kannada district as well as neighbouring districts from July 1 with fares hiked by 20%.

With this revision, the fare between Mangaluru and Manipal will become ₹100. The fare between Mangaluru and Udupi will be ₹95 on express buses.

Operators had increased fares by 15% from June 1 following last year’s COVID-19 lockdown. The Mangaluru-Manipal fare was hiked from ₹67 to ₹85. The minimum fare on city buses was increased from ₹10 to ₹12.

The operators had sought the district administration’s nod to collect enhanced fares for two reasons: increase in diesel price and limit on the number of passengers to 50% of sanctioned capacity in keeping with COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra said the revised fares was temporary till restrictions on capacity was lifted or the regional transport authority met to consider operators’ demand for revision in fares, whichever was earlier.

Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners’ Association, the umbrella organisation of private city buses, has geared up to resume services in skeletal manner from July 1. Association President Dilraj Alva told The Hindu about confusion regarding hours of operation. If they are allowed to operate only up to 2 p.m., not many operators would be ready to deploy buses. However, services might become normal from July 5 when the Karnataka government is expected to relax the norms, he said adding operators were getting bus permits that had been surrendered to the transport department released one by one.

Canara Bus Owners’ Association President K. Rajavarma Ballal justified the revised fares saying fares were last revised when diesel was sold at ₹64 a litre. With diesel price now crossing ₹91 a litre, an increase in operational cost was inevitable. Plus, they have to comply with the condition of 50% occupancy. They would also have to pay enhanced minimum wages to the crew once the government notifies the new policy, which is expected soon.

An operator has to pay ₹1,000 in toll fees alone for a round trip between Kundapura and Mangaluru, he said.

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